Sunday, May 17, 2015

NZ Music Month: Paul Dyne & Richard Nunns - Hikoi

Part two of the New Zealand Music Month posts. The previous instalment is here.

NZ Jazz New Zealand Jazz
Richard Nunns & Paul Dyne - Hikoi / Journey (Rattle) 2011

Over the last decade Rattle Records has established itself as the heavy weight jazz record label in New Zealand. Their releases are fairly broad stylistically and include those by veterans, such as the duo here, and younger musicians such as The Jac. With jazz releases from New Zealand it almost seems that unless an album is self-released, it's on Rattle. 

This two disc set is towards the more adventurous end if the Rattle spectrum, and I've been focusing on Hikoi (disc 1), which features seven improvised duos between Richard Nunns (Taonga Puoro - traditional Maori Instruments) and Paul Dyne (bass).

Hikoi clocks in at 36 minutes, with tracks ranging in length from a little over one minute through 12 minutes. The disc is very intimate and the playing is in a conversational style, which I feel is at the heart of any successful duo performance. The nature of Taonga Puoro is the antithesis of pyrotechnic displays of technical wizardry (although there is little doubt Richard is a virtuoso), and as a result, minimalism comes to the fore. The duo embraces space and silence, making it a critical component across the album. Paul mostly employs a pizzicato technique, but he also plays arco at times ("Tongariro - Rangitata") and sparingly uses percussive textures ("Manawatu - Wairau"). The albums is wonderfully recorded and I can't recall hearing Paul sound better (sonically).

Journey (Disc 2) features the sextet of Nunns and Dyne joined by Amy Rempel (p) Tim Hopkins (ts) and Dave Lisik & Jorge Sosa (electronics). Considering how much I enjoy Hikoi, I have not listened to Journey nearly as much - I think I miss the silence of the former. The two discs make an interesting contrast though - the ancient/acoustic Hikoi and the modern/digital Journey. Highly recommended.

If you are interested in hearing more from Richard Nunns playing Taonga Puoro in improv-related works, try these albums: Rangirua (duo with Evan Parker), This Appearing World (trio with Jeff Henderson and Marilyn Crispell - which is an outgrowth of Jeff’s project "Urban Taniwha"),  and Tuhonohono (with Judy Bailey and Steve Garden).
New Zealand Jazz

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